Chia is becoming a popular food in the health world. It’s a tiny black seed from a plant grown in South America, and chia used to be prized for its ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact, “chia” is the Mayan word for “strength”. It’s no wonder, all these years later, we are catching on to its health properties!
Whether it’s chia puddings, using it as a replacement for eggs in baking, or putting it in your smoothies, it’s being used in a multitude of ways – and for good reason! Chia touts an impressive resume of health benefits, and it’s definitely something that a lot of people can benefit from including in their diet. We’re going to list our top 7 reasons to love chia, and then provide you with two delicious recipes to start using chia today.
Its High Nutrient Content:chia might be small, but it sure is mighty. 1oz of chia, which is abut 2 tablespoons, contains 11g of fiber, 4g of protein, 9g of fat, 18% of your recommended daily intake of calcium, 30% of your recommended daily intake of manganese, 30% of your recommended daily intake of magnesium, and 27% of your recommended daily intake of phosphorus. Chia also contains a good amount of B vitamins, potassium, and zinc. What does all of this add up to? Better cellular function, high levels of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that our body needs to function, and more optimal health!
Loaded with Antioxidants: chia is loaded with healthy fats. Our body needs these fats to help a variety of functions, and so it’s important that the fats remain intact while they’re digested for our body to use. This is where chia’s high antioxidant content comes in handy. The antioxidants protect the sensitive fats in the chia seeds from going rancid. Plus, antioxidants help combat free radical damage which can cause cellular damage and also speed up the aging process.
A Good Vegan Source of Protein:as we mentioned above, chia contains 4g of protein in just 2 tablespoons. While this isn’t enough protein to substantiate a meal, it provides a good base for a snack or upon which to add complementary proteins. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, chia provides an easy way to get a good protein kick with a small amount. You can grind chia up into your smoothie, make chia pudding with it, or try making muffins with chia to add a bit of protein to your baked goods.
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids:we need healthy fats for so many things, including healthy mood, cognitive function, lowered pain and inflammation, heart health, skin health, and so much more. Chia seeds are a great source of these healthy fats!
Bone-Building Properties:chia seeds are high in several nutrients that can help bone health, including calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and protein. Our modern diets and lifestyles have caused many of us to be mineral deficient, which can exacerbate many issues – including bone health. Having the right minerals in the right amounts can help prevent things like osteoporosis. Chia seeds can help your bones get stronger!
Keeps Your Digestion Moving: being high in fibre, chia seeds help keep your digestion moving. Fiber is essential for your body’s ability to have regular bowel functions and a healthy stool, as well as overall digestive health. The majority of us are not getting nearly enough fibre in our diets, and chia seeds are a great natural source of this important aspect of health. Fibre can also help curb appetite and support weight loss – another bonus!
Energy & Metabolism Booster: a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that chia seeds can help enhance physical activity performance and energy levels. In fact, chia has been shown to be just as effective as sports drinks to help improve performance! Also, chia can help boost your metabolism and burn that unwanted belly fat by reducing visceral adipose tissue. Include them in your diet for these healthy weight benefits!
Now that you have 7 reasons to fall in love with chia, we have two recipes that makes it easy to do so. Enjoy!
Place ingredients in bowl of food processor. Blend and remove to a parchment-lined 9x9 baking dish (mixture will be very soft). Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Remove parchment paper from pan, peel it back and cut into bars (or squares) of desired size. Wrap each bar individually and place in fridge so that you can grab them on-the-go.
Velvety Chocolate Pots with Chia and Coconut Oil
1/2 cup ground chia 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1/2 cup coconut oil 1/2 cup raw cacao butter 1/4 cup maple syrup 1 cup whipping cream
Melt cacao butter with coconut oil. Place ground chia seeds, maple syrup, whipping cream and cocoa powder in blender. Blend on high and slowly pour in melted coconut oil mixture. Pour into 4 dessert ramekins. Chill for at least one hour and top with a dollop of whipped cream (sweetened with maple syrup).Garnish with a mint leaf or chocolate shavings.
Katie has worked in the natural health & wellness industry for over 10 years and is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. She is passionate about eating #feelgood food and recognized that this might look different for each and every person. She truly believes that in a healthy lifestyle, you can have your cake and eat your kale, too! Follow her on Instagram @katielmitts